COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A broad range of professionals and community volunteers are involved in watershed planning and management in Ohio. Those who want to take a leadership role will want to enroll in the 2011 Ohio Watershed Academy, offered by Ohio State University Extension March 28 to May 31.
"Decisions affecting watersheds can be hard to make, and sometimes must be made very quickly," said Anne Baird, one of the course instructors. "This course is primarily for people with vision -- people who are interested in how to get people involved effectively and leading others to make good decisions."
Baird and colleague Joe Bonnell have been teaching the academy since 2000. They decided to offer the course entirely online this year, with optional face-to-face meetings, to make it accessible to more people. Also new this year is a $125 fee for taking the course -- grants that had previously subsidized the cost of the class have expired. Graduate and undergraduate credits from Ohio State University's School of Environment and Natural Resources also are available for anyone registered as an Ohio State student; tuition charges would apply.
Participation in the 2011 academy is limited to 30 people. Registration deadline is March 21.
Course participants have traditionally included watershed coordinators and other water resource professionals, watershed group volunteers, county health department and planning agency staff, and university students and faculty.
The course offers several tracks that participants can choose from depending on their interest. Two focus on the human dimension of organizing and leading watershed efforts; one focuses on the ecological dimension; another combines the two for watershed planning and implementation. Participants who successfully complete nine assignments will receive a certificate of completion.
Course materials are available free from the course website, http://ohiowatersheds.osu.edu/owa. Official participants will take part in forums to discuss class topics and interact with course instructors, including guest instructors such as Dan Mecklenburg from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
General information about the academy, including how to enroll, is available at http://ohiowatersheds.osu.edu/courses. In addition, more information and offerings from the Ohio Watershed Network, including a recent webinar on harmful algal blooms and how to prevent them, are available at http://ohiowatersheds.osu.edu/.